DENVER – In a key State Senate race, Republican challenger Lang Sias is racing through the finish line.
For the last two consecutive reporting periods for fundraising, the former Top Gun instructor has outraised his opponent, incumbent Democratic Senator Evie Hudak, pulling in $46,180 to her $29,272 in the race for Senate District 19.
The race has been one of the most fiercely fought in the state, as it could determine which party controls the upper chamber on November 7th.
“Lang’s continued fundraising success illustrates that his message of economic growth and responsible government is resounding with donors and voters alike,” said Sias’ campaign manager Sean Walsh in a press release. “Conversely, Senator Hudak’s campaign is in decline. This is two consecutive reporting periods that demonstrate her votes against Colorado jobs are taking their toll.”
Hudak still retains a large fundraising lead in overall funds amassed — by almost $90,000 — but her heavier spending has brought the two in line with the vital cash on hand figure for the remaining weeks of the race, with Sias retaining a slight $3,000 lead.
Senator Hudak did not respond to a request for comment.
Incumbents tend to outraise their challengers, bringing in larger amounts from special interests like unions and lobbyists. That is especially true in State Senate races, as members are elected to four-year terms and are able to raise funds that entire time, whereas their challengers usually have less than a year to do so.
That challenge for upstart candidates was doubly true this year, as the new districts were not drawn until the end of 2011 due to the decennial process of redrawing legislative lines to reflect population changes. As candidates have to live in the district for a year prior to running, very few candidates declared before lines are drawn. Announcing before would risk allowing the political map drawers to draw them out of their district.
In the latest reporting period, Senator Hudak’s largest contributors were the Colorado Democratic Party, the St. Vrain School District teachers’ union, and the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.
Sias’s largest donors were the Colorado Republican Committee, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Both Hudak and Sias’s spending, however, will be dwarfed by the funds poured into the race by a variety of outside groups, with vague, but similar sounding names like the Colorado Government Accountability Alliance and Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government. Total spending in the race could possibly surpass seven figures, some observers estimate.
Democrats currently control the State Senate with a 20-15 majority, but a number of competitive races leave open the possibility of Republicans taking over. For that to happen, Republicans like Lang Sias will have to come out victorious on November 6th.